Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Short Takes – 4-24-24

E. coli engineered to become methanol addict to make industry feedstocks. article. A little biochem geeky stuff. Pull quote: “Lead author Julia Vorholt at ETH Zurich says the first step was to get E. coli ‘addicted’ to methanol. ‘If you make a mutation in a certain gene then [E. coli] needs to make a little bit of biomass for some specific compounds from methanol,’ she explains. Leaving the bacteria to grow in a bioreactor with just enough carbon to survive and an abundance of methanol favours those that can use alcohol. Natural selection takes over and bacteria which thrive using methanol outcompete the others until eventually E. coli has evolved the same fixation cycle seen in other methylotrophs.”

America’s crisis of repetition is hurting national security. article. Pull quote: “Finally, the challenge of identifying obstacles to implementation is hard — and frankly, not necessarily interesting. It involves detective work: asking questions, knowing processes across government, and understanding funding streams. It requires persistence and takes time. It’s a lot less exciting than coming up with purportedly “new” ideas.”

Artemis Mission: Making NASA’s New Moon Suits. article. Pull quote: “This carefulness is evident when you walk into their sewing labs. The labs are filled with single needle, double needle, off-arm, post, bar-tack, serger, and zig-zag sewing machines, all used for the creation of the suits. In typical clothing factories, the buzz of machines is constant and fast. Axiom’s sewing lab is almost dead silent. Some of the sewers even turn the machines by hand to achieve the level of precision needed.”

Agency Information Collection Activities: CISA Gateway User Registration. Federal Register CISA 60-day ICR renewal/change notice. Changes: “The collection was initially approved on October 9, 2007, and the most recent approval was on December 19, 2023, with an expiration date of June 30, 2024. The changes to the collection since the previous OMB approval include; updating the title of the collection, decrease in burden estimates and decrease in costs The total annual burden cost for this collection has changed by $3,096.40, from $4,128 to $7,224.40 due to the removal of the utilization survey, and the addition of PCIIMS respondents. For the CISA Gateway, the total number of responses has increased from 350 to 700 due to the updated metrics resulting from the awareness campaign and due to the registration process changing which does not include the training registration. The annual government cost for this collection has changed by $8,340.92 from $5,723 to $14,063.92 due to the removal of the utilization survey, and the addition of PCIIMS respondents. The This is a renewal with changes of an information collection.” Comments due June 24th, 2024.

National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee. Federal Register DHS meeting notice. Agenda: “The NSTAC will meet in an open session on Thursday, May 23, 2024, from 3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT to discuss current NSTAC activities and the government's ongoing cybersecurity and NS/EP communications initiatives. This open session will include: (1) an update on the administration's cybersecurity initiatives; (2) a keynote address;(3) an update on current NSTAC activities; and (4) a status update on the NSTAC Principles for Baseline Security Offerings from Cloud Service Providers Study.”

Sorry, Little Green Men: Alien Life Might Actually Be Purple. article. Pull quote: “Prior to that, microorganisms generated metabolic energy by harnessing sunlight using a purple-pigmented molecule called retinal, whose origin may have predated chlorophyll. If retinal exists on other faraway worlds, scientists think the molecule's unique fingerprint would be discernible by upcoming ground- and space-based telescopes.”

Monkeypox virus: dangerous strain gains ability to spread through sex, new data suggest. article. Pull quote: “Although mpox infections have waned globally since 2022, they have been trending upwards in the DRC: in 2023 alone, the country reported more than 14,600 suspected infections and more than 650 deaths. In September, 2023, a new cluster of suspected cases arose in the DRC’s South Kivu province. This cluster especially concerns researchers, as it has been spreading largely among sex workers, suggesting that the virus has adapted to transmit readily through sexual contact.

Remnants of bird flu virus found in pasteurized milk, FDA says. article. Pull quote: “Because the detection of the bird flu virus known as Type A H5N1 in dairy cattle is new and the situation is evolving, no studies on the effects of pasteurization on the virus have been completed, FDA officials said. But past research shows that pasteurization is “very likely” to inactivate heat-sensitive viruses like H5N1, the agency added.” While I agree with the theory, I am not a big fan of ‘very likely’ as a scientific statement. And what happens if A H5N1 fragments get into someone with an active flu infection; would we see recombination?

No comments:

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */